Page 1

EXHIBITION FAMILY GUIDE BRANDAN "BMIKE" ODUMS


THE TITLE – “NOT SUPPOSED 2-BE HERE” – HAS MANY MEANINGS. WHILE VIEWING THE EXHIBITION, ASK YOURSELF...

...HOW IS ART OFTEN MORE EXCLUSIVE THAN INCLUSIVE?

AS WE UNDERSTAND THE PRESENT THROUGH THE LENS OF HISTORY, ARE WE COMFORTABLE WITH ONE VERSION OF HISTORY TO SHAPE THE PRESENT?

...HOW DOES A GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION, BUILDING OR INSTITUTION CHANGE BOTH HOW ART IS VIEWED AND ITS MEANING?

INSPIRATION, PROCESS, BEGINNINGS BRANDAN’S TALENT AS AN ARTIST WAS RECOGNIZED AT AN EARLY AGE. IN HIGH SCHOOL, HE SPLIT HIS TIME BETWEEN TWO SCHOOLS – EDNA KARR, WHERE HE LEARNED SCIENCE, MATH, HISTORY AND ENGLISH, AND NOCCA (NEW ORLEANS CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS), WHERE HE WAS IMMERSED IN ART TRAINING AND ART HISTORY. BUT HE QUICKLY RECOGNIZED SOMETHING IN HIS EDUCATION WAS LACKING – MOST ART SCHOOLS AT THE TIME IN THE US FOCUSED MAINLY ON ART FROM EUROPE AND THROUGH A EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE. AS AN AFRICAN AMERICAN, THE MORE PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES HE WAS SHOWN AS EXAMPLES OF GREAT ART, THE LESS HE SAW HIMSELF IN THE SAME LINEAGE. HE WANTED TO TELL HIS STORY, BECAUSE HE DIDN’T SEE THE STORY OF HIS ANCESTORS IN THE ART HE LEARNED ABOUT IN SCHOOL. FORTUNATELY, HE HAD TEACHERS AND MENTORS WHO ENCOURAGED HIM TO EXPLORE THE WORK OF BLACK ARTISTS. THE ENTRANCE GALLERY PRESENTS SOME OF HIS BEGINNINGS – LIKE THE T SHIRTS OF CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS HE PAINTED WHILE IN COLLEGE AND A PORTRAIT OF HIS GRANDPARENTS CLAIRE AND SONNY ANDRY – BUT IT ALSO GIVES A GLIMPSE INTO HIS DAILY STUDIO PRACTICE AND THOUGHT PROCESS.


ARE THERE THINGS YOU LIKE TO DRAW OVER AND OVER? WHAT ARE THEY?

ODUMS IS USING HIS ART TRAINING TO TWIST OUR PERSPECTIVE THROUGHOUT THE EXHIBITION. TWO WALLS SHOW SEVERAL PAINTINGS HUNG IN CLUSTERS KNOWN AS “SALON STYLE” AFTER THE SALON DE PARIS – THE MOST PROMINENT ANNUAL ART EXHIBITION DURING THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES. GOLD HALOS AND CROWNS ILLUMINATE FRIENDS AND FAMILY, LIFTING THEM TO THE STATUS OF PRE- RENAISSANCE RELIGIOUS FIGURES. THE LARGE SCALE OF MOST OF THE PAINTINGS EMPHASIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR SUBJECTS AND THE EVER-PRESENT DRIPPING PAINT IS A HALLMARK OF ABSTRACTION, ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTISTIC IDEOLOGIES OF THE 20TH CENTURY.


AFTER STUDYING FILM AND VIDEO AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS, BRANDAN ODUMS STARTED WORKING AS A CAMERA PERSON AT NOATV – NEW ORLEANS ACCESS TELEVISION, HE OFTEN FOUND THE TOPICS AND VIEWPOINTS PRESENTED IN THE SHOWS THAT HE HELPED THE STATION PRODUCE VERY MEANINGFUL, BUT HE KNEW YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE HIMSELF WOULDN’T WATCH THEM, EVEN THOUGH THESE WERE IMPORTANT ISSUES. THE MESSAGE WAS STRONG, BUT THE FORMAT WAS LACKING STYLE. HOW TO GET THESE SAME IDEAS OUT TO A YOUNGER GENERATION?

SOMETIMES ART STARTS WITH A QUESTION YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO... BRANDAN STARTED WITH WHAT HE HAD...

...KNOWLEDGE ABOUT VIDEO PRODUCTION

...TALENT AS AN ARTIST

...FRIENDS WHO HE COULD COUNT ON, EACH WITH BIG IDEAS AND SKILLS AND TALENT OF THEIR OWN…


AND WITH THOSE SPECIAL INGREDIENTS, 2-CENT EDUTAINMENT WAS BORN !

DO YOU ENJOY CREATING WITH OTHERS? WHAT KINDS OF GAMES DO YOU MAKE WITH YOUR FRIENDS?

DID YOU KNOW? MARSHALL MCLUHAN (1911 – 1980) WAS A CANADIAN PHILOSOPHER AND MEDIA THEORIST. HIS WRITINGS ON HOW VISUAL MEDIA FORMATS (SPECIFICALLY TELEVISION) ALTER PERCEPTION WERE INCREDIBLY INFLUENTIAL IN THE 1960’S AND HAVE A LASTING EFFECT TODAY. HE COINED THE PHRASE “THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE”, ADVOCATING FOR OUR ATTENTION TO THE TELEVISION FORMAT, RATHER THAN JUST ITS PROGRAMMING.

2-CENT CREATED VIDEOS WITH AN AWARENESS OF POP CULTURE’S ABILITY TO BE A VEHICLE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE. THEY OFTEN INVOLVED PEOPLE AROUND THEM, GIVING VOICE TO THOSE WHO HAD NONE, AND REACHING THOSE WHO OTHERWISE MAY HAVE TUNED OUT IN ANOTHER FORMAT. THEIR VIDEOS WERE MADE IN THE EARLY YEARS OF INTERNET SOCIAL MEDIA AND GRABBED THE ATTENTION OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.


ONE WAY TO MAKE A POINT IS TO SPEAK CLEARLY HAVE YOU EVER FELT CONFUSED BY AN ARTWORK? EVERYONE HAS, INCLUDING ARTISTS! SOMETIMES THAT CONFUSION CAN DRIVE ONE TO FIGURE OUT THE WORK FOR THEMSELVES, BUT MORE OFTEN IT JUST TURNS PEOPLE AWAY. ARTISTS WHO WANT TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH THEIR ARTWORK TRY DIFFERENT TACTICS TO GET THEIR MESSAGE OUT. REMEMBERING HIS FRUSTRATION WITH THE OFTEN ELITIST AND EUROCENTRIC ART HE WAS TAUGHT IN SCHOOL, BRANDAN FOUND STREET ART TO BE REFRESHING. BECAUSE IT EXISTS IN PUBLIC SPACES, IT HAS THE ABILITY TO RELATE DIRECTLY WITH THE COMMUNITY WHO LIVES NEAR IT. THAT’S HOW BRANDAN BECAME KNOWN AS “BMIKE”, AS HE STARTED PAINTING MURALS AND PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE THAT MATTERED TO HIM: CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS, NEW ORLEANS MUSICIANS, PERSONAL MENTORS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS. HE PAINTED THESE PORTRAITS ON BUILDINGS THAT WERE NO LONGER IN USE AS A WAY TO BRING BACK THE BEAUTY THEY ONCE HAD WHILE CELEBRATE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE IMPACTED HIM. THE PORTRAITS ARE REALISTIC AND APPROACHABLE FOR ANYONE TO ENJOY. JUST AS HE IS INSPIRED BY OTHERS WHO HAVE COME BEFORE HIM, HE HOPES TO INSPIRE YOUTH TO DREAM BIG AND DO GREAT THINGS, BETTERING THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES.


DID YOU KNOW? STREET ART AND GRAFFITI ARE NOT THE SAME STYLE AND SHOULDN’T BE USED INTERCHANGEABLY. GRAFFITI IS AN ANCIENT ARTFORM MADE WITHOUT PERMISSION AND WITHIN PUBLIC VIEW, THAT IN MODERN TIMES INSPIRED THE DEVELOPMENT OF STREET ART. STREET ART MAY ALSO BE MADE ILLEGALLY, THOUGH IT IS OFTEN NOT. LIKE THE NAME IMPLIES, IT IS MADE TO EXIST IN PUBLIC SPACES, SOMETIMES IN COLLABORATION WITH A COMMUNITY. JUST LIKE ARTISTS WORKING WITHIN THE “ART WORLD ESTABLISHMENT” – GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS -- GRAFFITI ARTISTS AND STREET ARTISTS ARE KNOWLEDGEABLE OF EACH OTHER’S WORK AND MAY INCORPORATE ELEMENTS OF OTHER’S STYLES INTO THEIR OWN. PAINTING OVER SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK IS A VISUAL DISAPPROVAL OF THE WORK.

THINK OF A PICTURE IN A COLORING BOOK. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU COLOR OUTSIDE OF THE LINES? OR IF YOU USE A COLOR LIKE BLUE FOR SOMEONE’S SKIN? ARTISTS (LIKE YOURSELF, WE HOPE!) KNOW THERE ARE TIMES WHEN IT’S OK TO BEND THE RULES A BIT – IT’S A BIG PART OF BEING CREATIVE. BUT IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO ASK IF THE RULE SHOULD BE BENT – WHY IS THE RULE THERE?


BE YOUR OWN ARTIST! ADD COLOR TO THIS DRAWING OF BMIKE!


ARTIST

TEACHER

MENTOR

ANCHORED IN BMIKE’S STUDIO PRACTICE IS A COMMITMENT TO BEING A TEACHER AND MENTOR TO YOUTH. EVERY PROJECT ODUMS HAS WORKED ON – FROM 2-CENT, TO EXHIBIT BE, PROJECT BE AND STUDIO BE TO THIS EXHIBIT – THE INTENTION WAS TO MAKE HIS ART INCLUSIVE OF OTHERS, BOTH AS MENTEES AS WELL AS COLLABORATORS. HE IS AN ARTIST WHO BELIEVES TEACHING TO BE A PART OF HIS ARTISTIC PRACTICE, NOT JUST A RELATED EFFORT. SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT NEW ORLEANS HAVE VISITED STUDIO BE IN THE BYWATER NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE CITY. TO LEARN ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS AND ACTIVISTS FEATURED IN HIS LARGER THAN LIFE PORTRAITS. AN AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM FOR PRE-TEENS THAT MEETS REGULARLY AT STUDIO BE TEACHES ART AND CARPENTRY TO EMPOWER YOUNG PEOPLE.


DID YOU KNOW? TRADITIONALLY, APPRENTICESHIPS WERE THE PREFERRED MEANS TO EMBARK ON A CAREER IN FINE ART. THIS GAVE WAY TO ACADEMIES AND MODERN ART SCHOOLS. TODAY, MANY ASPIRING ARTISTS FIND THEMSELVES WORKING AS PAID STUDIO ASSISTANTS FOR AN ESTABLISHED ARTIST, OFTEN AFTER HAVING RECEIVED FORMAL TRAINING WITHIN AN ART PROGRAM. MANY ESTABLISHED ARTISTS GREATLY RELY ON THE SPECIALIZATION OF OTHERS TO REALIZE THEIR WORK.

CAN YOU FIND A PAINTING OF A CHILD FLOATING? WE BET YOU CAN! HIS NAME IS DOMTE. ONE DAY HE VISITED BMIKE’S STUDIO AND WAS GIVEN A SKETCHBOOK. DOMTE WENT BACK TO VISIT BMIKE A FEW WEEKS LATER TO SHOW HIM ALL THE DRAWINGS HE DID – HE HAD FILLED THE ENTIRE BOOK! BMIKE KNEW DOMTE COULD BE AN ARTIST, JUST LIKE HIM. THIS PAINTING, CALLED “FAMILY TREE”, SHOWS US HOW ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WHEN WE BELIEVE IN OURSELVES!


REMEMBERING THE PAST AND THINKING OF THE FUTURE THE INSTALLATION “BAPTIZED REPRISED” IS BMIKE’S SECOND VERSION OF A WORK FOCUSED ON THE EFFECTS OF HURRICANE KATRINA AND CONTINUAL COASTAL EROSION. THE RED PAINT COVERING HALF THE ROOM REPRESENTS THE WATERLINE LEFT BY RECEDING FLOOD WATERS IN THE AFTERMATH OF KATRINA. THIS “WATERLINE” PROVIDES A HAUNTING REMINDER OF THE IRREVOCABLE LOSSES FACED BY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM THE STORM. THE CENTRAL THEME OF BAPTISM IS USED TO EVOKE A RITE OF PASSAGE THAT THOSE WHO LIVED THROUGH KATRINA HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOREVER. BRANDAN IS PARTICULARLY AWARE OF HOW THE CITY WAS CHANGED FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR AFTER THE STORM.


WHAT DOES THIS ROOM REMIND YOU OF? HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN ANY ROOM YOU’VE BEEN IN BEFORE? DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL SAFE OR AFRAID, HAPPY OR SAD?

“SOMETHING IN THE WATER” IS A DIRECT REFERENCE TO THE EMANUEL LEUTZE PAINTING “WASHINGTON CROSSING THE DELAWARE” (1851). HERE, ODUMS USES OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORIGINAL PAINTING’S NARRATIVE TO CONSIDER THE PERSEVERANCE OF BLACK PEOPLE THROUGH HURRICANE KATRINA, THE MOST DEVASTATING HURRICANE IN THE CITY’S HISTORY. BESIDES MIRRORING THE POSES OF THE ICONIC PAINTING, ODUMS USED FELLOW ARTISTS AND STUDENTS AS MODELS, AS LEUTZE DID.


FIND THE WORDS


THE HEROES REVEALED!

Learn more at NewcombArtMuseum.Tulane.edu

Profile for Newcomb Art Museum

Brandan "BMike" Odums: NOT Supposed 2-BE Here Family Guide  

Brandan "BMike" Odums: NOT Supposed 2-BE Here Family Guide  

Advertisement